High School Summer Camp: five tips for young CG artists

Posted May 25th, 2016 by Jim Thacker — Category: Education — 0 Comments

Gnomon's High School Summer Camp helps students in grades 10-12 sharpen their art skills.

Gnomon's High School Summer Camp helps students in grades 10-12 sharpen their art skills.

April Connors explains what happens at Gnomon's High School Summer Camp and shares her tips for becoming a CG artist when you graduate

If you want to be a CG artist when you graduate from high school, the summer vacation is a great chance to practice your skills. Gnomon - School of Visual Effects, Games and Animation's High School Summer Camp takes that a step further, giving you a chance to spend a week with other people who share your passion for art, learning from some of the entertainment industry's best-known artists.

“For young artists, courses like Summer Camp help in a variety of ways,” says April Connors, who teaches this year's classes on Drawing for the Entertainment Industry. “They can be a deciding factor in choosing an art school; they can help you meet like-minded people; or they can be a chance to talk to professional artists and see the different career possibilities."

Equally importantly, when you come to apply to art school, courses like the Summer Camp will help give you an idea of how to improve your skills on your own so you can work on your portfolio.


Classes take place at Gnomon's state-of-the-art campus in the heart of Hollywood.

Held at Gnomon's campus in the Television Center Building in the heart of Hollywood, High School Summer Camp gives you the chance to try out new skills under the guidance of a professional artist. There are typically 12 – 15 students per class, so everyone gets a fair share of their instructor's time, and there is a different guest speaker each day. Lunch and all of your materials get provided, and there are no admission or portfolio requirements, so anyone aged 15 to 18 can sign up.

Separate courses cover Digital Painting and Digital Sculpting and provide an introduction to 3D Animation, Games and Visual Effects, while April's class focuses on the drawing skills you'll need to design characters, creatures, vehicles or environments for companies like Disney or Blizzard Entertainment.

“Over the course of the five days, we'll begin to lay the foundation for the draftsmanship that you need to work commercially,” says April, whose own work has been exhibited everywhere from Mexico to Hong Kong. “Most of the exercises we will do during class are also ones you can do at home to supplement your studies.”

The art exercises at Summer Camp are things you can do at home, so you can carry on after you leave.

Although there are no homework assignments, expect to work hard from 9 AM to 5 PM each day – but also to have fun doing so.

“By the end of the week, I expect everyone’s drawing skills will have improved, and I'm hoping that you will have an idea of the discipline, time and energy needed to take things further,” says April. “I want people to walk away feeling the hard work necessary in learning to draw, but also the sense of accomplishment that comes as a reward for that hard work.

This year's High School Summer Camp takes place at the end of June. If you want to find out more, the links at the foot of this story should tell you everything you need to know. And if you want to get a head start (or if you just want to practice at home), here are April's five tips for becoming a better artist:

1. Start a sketchbook

You never know when inspiration will strike. Keep a sketchbook and a drawing utensil on you at all times, ready to go at a moment's notice.

2. Talk to everyone

Good artists try to find out about the world. Try to have conversations with new people; you'll learn a lot about lots of things.

3. Go places and do things

Art comes from experience. If you keep making new experiences, you'll always have something to say.

4. Feed your other senses

Eat really good food – even food you don't like; eat everything. Find flavors that excite you and make you feel things.

5. Listen to lots of music and dance

Physical activity helps you understand musculature and anatomy. It'll also do wonders for your sense of line, acting, storytelling, and design!

Read more

Find out more about Gnomon's High School Summer Camp
Need more details? Read answers to Frequently Asked Questions
Want to see where you'll be studying? Check out the campus
Still have questions? Speak to one of Gnomon's advisors


About Gnomon

Founded in 1997, Gnomon has trained thousands of students and professionals for careers in the entertainment industry. Find out more